Rethinking the Coronavirus as a Workplace Opportunity
There is enough panic around. Fear, ambiguity, misinformation. But under all this lies a profound mental health awareness opportunity. Here are some ways to use this as an opportunity.
Sometimes it hard to see the forest for the trees and lately in Australia we have been surrounded by a multitude of traumatic events that it may be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. As an employer, your team are being exposed to these mass, potentially traumatic events, through the multitude of media and the fear-induced panic reactions. And remember, you have very little control over what emotions your staff are brining in the door each day, but as an employer you have a choice.
You can’t stop the fear and anxiety in your staff, but you can turn it around and turn this into an opportunity.
By acting as the voice of reason
By not confronting the issue head-on you are increasing the confusion and ambiguity that your team may be facing. Don’t rely on ‘water-cooler’ talk to be the default position of your organizational culture. Be upfront, professional and use evidence-based information when talking with your staff. Share potential commercial challenges with your team and ask for input.
All parts of society harbor a vast array of stigmatized issues; the stigma of infection, the xenophobia, the mistrust of others has seen truly outrageous panic reactions in this country. Why not use this opportunity to start positive discussions around the stigma that has caused this and lead on to the stigma surrounding mental health? Draw a line from the fear that people may be experiencing to a discussion of anxiety and our reaction to all this trauma.
Wow, just look at the array of negative messaging available to us around this pandemic. The fear of loosing our jobs, reduced hours, closures, the list is long. This provides an opportunity for leaders to strengthen their communication skills and channels.
- Set up clear way of talking to your team about business challenges that may lie ahead
- Get your team to input ideas on how to stay ahead or afloat during potential down turns
- Brainstorm ideas for tasks to perform during business lulls like deep cleaning the restaurant/kitchen
- Undertake some training or upskilling, hone some business protocols to streamline the business once things return to normal.
Get creative, get input and get into a position of strength once the inevitable ‘snap-back’ happens.
Remaining positive as an employer/leader, taking proactive steps, keeping communication clear, factual and honest will help your business AND your staff.